KARACHI: All my teachers and colleagues who have studied abroad are like apples; you keep them on a table and they look lovely. On the other hand, we, who have studied here in Pakistan, are like mangoes; though we can go rotten, but can an apple ever replace a mango? In our culture, it cannot.
This was the opening statement of architect Moyena Niazi during her lecture ‘House or Home – A Presentation’ at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS) on Wednesday.
Niazi kicked off the detailed one-hour presentation by shedding light on her dissertations, which primarily focused on the immediate needs faced by a single man living in the metropolis. She also spoke about the changes adopted by these men in their living spaces once they bring their families to the city to live with them.
Her presentation also explored urban housing. “Spaces are flexible; it’s how we use them with the passage of time. They are not rigid. A child’s room can in time become a guest room,” she said, explaining that nothing is fixed in an urban home.
She also spoke about her personal journey as an architect and its impact on her professional life. While showing her work to the students, Niazi stressed that, “A set formula for interior decoration is as bad as any Lollywood movie, which has a set number of minutes of action, romance, an item number and then the film is completed.”
By using a set formula for interior decoration, we are not telling clients how their lives could be better, she said. “The formula houses are nothing but mechanical houses,” Niazi lamented.
During her presentation, Niazi shared pictures of her own house and spoke about the reasons behind some of her personal preferences. However, she reiterated from time to time that the houses must be shaped according to the lifestyle and preferences of its residents, not the architects or designers.
“What is my preference may not be the preference of someone else, so the question is always about your choices and your lifestyle,” she explained. In her presentation she also gave detailed insight on her projects all around the country and the learning experiences she received while working on them.